by Carrie Thayer
Somewhere between work, school and a lackluster attempt at a social life, coffee has become an essential part of my day. Every morning you will find me with a mug of that deliciously bitter liquid basically attached to my hand.
It’s pretty much a parasitic relationship, but I’m trying to convince myself it’s one of the nice ones, like the clown fish and sea anemone. It gives me a reason to live and I, um, save it from being loaded down with sickly sweet creamer. Totally healthy.
Some days my desire for coffee carries me into one of the hallowed spaces known as a coffee shop. Given my ardent obsession for their product, and my time as a barista, I’m going to let you, my fellow espresso lover, in on some things to avoid so the person behind the counter doesn’t think you are the worst.
Vanilla Bean Anything
I can’t tell you how many times I have watched someone huff and puff about long lines and caffeine withdrawals only to have them order a vanilla bean blended drink. Unless you are sensitive to the copious amounts of sugar that make up those rather bland beverages, nothing in it is going to help you wake up.
It also doesn’t help that when someone orders this drink, 90 percent of the time they are going to mess up the line by taking multiple pictures for Instagram, applying filter after filter in an attempt to make their order look less lame. #noonecares
French Vanilla Cappuccino
If you order this, your barista is going to assume you actually want one of those sickening sweet drinks that gas stations try to pass off as something other than a glorified hot chocolate. Then the barista is going to have to give the spiel about how a cappuccino is actually half foam and how they don’t have French vanilla flavoring, just for you to get angry when the drink “tastes like coffee.”
You are in a coffee shop. There is a reason why this is a coffee shop. Just stop.
Yes, Starbucks’ cup size names are weird. Yes, there are reasons why they have strange names. No, we don’t have enough time for me to go into all of that.
Your barista understands the concept of small, medium and large. If you have trouble pronouncing “venti,” order a large. Or order by the ounces. Just don’t order by price or caloric value.
So you saw a picture of this totally adorable drink on Pinterest, it’s the Ferrero Rocher or S’mores or Choco-Caramel-Whatever-Explosion Frappuccino. I mean, look at how adorable the cascades of caramel and chocolate drizzle are. Really, I’m happy for you.
But, if you don’t have an exact recipe, no one is going to be able to make it.
There isn’t a corporate “secret” menu, most of those drinks are just the result of a bored barista and too many syrup options. If you want a drink, know what goes in it.
It’s not that we’re illiterate, it’s that you’re mumbling. And there’s coffee brewing, espresso grinding, milk aerating, fans turning and ovens running. And you’re mumbling.
If your ego is so easily bruised about a misspelled name, you can always invest in an espresso machine, make your own drink and spell your name, properly, on all of your drinkware.
There are lots of reasons why your barista probably hates you, but they are delivering to you the most wonderful of liquids. So be polite, know what you want to order before you get to the counter, enunciate and pretty soon that person might think you’re only slightly terrible.